Friday, April 30, 2010

Welcome - and thank you for joining me!


My name is Jay Moreno. I'm a candidate for the Camden County Commission seat representing District 4, the district that encompasses the City of St. Marys.  That's the seat currently held by Commissioner Charlene Sears who has chosen not to run for another term. I'm running as a Republican in the July 20th primary election.

Were I not completely confident of my ability to be highly effective as a county commissioner I would not be running. More about why I am so confident of that in a moment but first, let's take a look at my "negatives" - the things that I will not bring to the office.

1. Youthful good looks.  I'll turn 63 in November. I'm bald, fat, generally considered ugly,  and I'm confined to a wheelchair. However, I do own a large suit and I clean up pretty well.

2. Effusive exuberance, back-slapping, hand-pumping, and continually grinning like a jackass eating cockleburs for no apparent reason. That's just not my style. I'm a rather shy and reserved fellow of a serious demeanor sometimes mistaken for unfriendliness.

3. A gaggle of local relatives and GOB buddies wanting county jobs and political favors.  I'm not from here - but I own a home here (501 Victoria's Circle) and I'm here to stay. I'm originally from Savannah. I moved here in August of 1993 in a job-related move.  My relatives are strung out from Savannah to Australia but not a single one lives in Camden and they are all gainfully employed or retired. Believe me, my few personal friends in the county know better than to ask. I am not now, nor have I ever been a local Realtor or builder. I neither belong to nor have any allegiance to any civic clubs or merchants' groups. I have no fee-paying clients whose interests I might put ahead of those of the taxpayers.

4. Backers. Not a soul has asked me to run period, much less to champion their agenda. Not a soul has offered financial backing, nor have I sought it. Though running as a Republican, I am truly "independent" in the non-political, traditional sense of the word.

5. A full war chest. I'm currently living off of Social Security Disability Income and the remainder of my Workers' Comp settlement for my Guillain-Barre syndrome (see "What in the world is Guillain-Barre syndrome" in the right-hand margin) while I'm waiting for the school board to start hiring teachers again. This will, of necessity, be a low-budget campaign. There will be no barbecues with tiki torches, steaks, quiche, and key-lime pie - at least not from this candidate. And no, the CCBOC does not vote on any issues effecting the school board in any way. If I am hired during my term of office, there will never be any conflict of interest whatsoever.

6. Any problems with alcohol. I typically have a few tablespooons of bourbon with my annual quart of holiday eggnog, a cold cerveza Dos Equis with a Mexican meal once or twice a year, and that's about it. However, I have no moral objection to the responsible consumption of alcohol nor the issuance of alcohol licenses to well vetted and fully compliant applicants. However, I would be quick to vote to revoke the license of any such establishment that became a neighborhood nuisance.

Are you still with me? Good.

I do have a few "positives" which make me a good choice for the job.

1. High intelligence. Now, this one is a little tricky. The trick is to be assuring without being off-putting. I trust you will agree that in this day and time, in addition to common sense (yes, I have that too) you really need above average intelligence to not only fully comprehend the issues facing legislative office holders but come up with the best solutions. Sure, I could tell you my tested IQ, but that would seem gratuitously hubristic and that is not my intention. Let me explain it this way: If I were in attendance at a Wildcats game and was one of 1,000 randomly-selected fans, statistically, I would be one of the top 20 most intelligent persons in the group.  And, yes, statistics purists, I'm aware that specifying my inclusion in the group destroys the randomness of the sample but work with me here.

2. Higher education adequate to the office.  After 4 years of active duty in the Navy, where I served as a Hospital Corpsman (HM2 - and later a Chief Petty Officer [HMC] in the reserves - where, by the way, I had exactly the same standardized Navy leadership and management courses as did Royal Weaver and served as the Leading Chief Petty Oficer and de facto XO in my 25 man Marine medical support unit) with the Marines in Vietnam, I went to college in Savannah for a couple of years in the early '70s before joining the work force full time. In 1997, while working full time and going to college at night, I completed a Bachelor of General Studies degree with a minor in political science from Savannah's Armstrong Atlantic State University. In pursuit of the political science minor, I took courses in federal, state, county, and city government; U.S. Constitutional law with an emphasis on civil liberties, as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights; U.S. Jurisprudence - the study of law and the court systems; the U.S presidency; and the U.S. Congress. Those courses, in addition to the usual core curriculum plus other electives, including some business courses, have given me a good, solid, educational foundation for the post I seek.

After two years of physical therapy following my contracting GBS, I embarked on the AASU Post- Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Program.  I finished my student teaching at Camden Middle School in May of 2009. I am now licensed by the State of Georgia to teach Middle Grades Language Arts, Middle Grades Social Studies, and Political Science in grades 6 -12. I have applied for employment with the Camden County school system. Of course, they are not currently hiring due to budget shortfalls. Let me say again that the school board is a taxing authority unto itself. There are no votes taken by the CCBOC that impact the school system in any way, ergo there can be no conflict of interest if I am elected and subsequently hired as a teacher. (Technically, there is one vote annually. The county actually must levy the school tax based upon the millage rate the school board recommends, not to exceed 20 mills. The one annual vote to approve their recommended millage rate is pro-forma).  Moreover, I fully understand the dictum to "avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest" and will abide by it, even though at this point I find it hard to imagine how a conflict of any kind would pop up in my case, as you will see when I put my financial disclosure form on line in the near future.

Currently, I am taking some Business Administration courses at the College of Coastal Georgia in preparation for applying later to the Master of Public Administration program at Valdosta State University.

I am also currently attending the Camden County government's "Citizens' Academy." I will graduate in November, a few days after the general election. I highly recommend this course, by the way.

3. Above average verbal skills. Again, this is kind of tricky business. I don't take any personal credit for what was essentially the luck of the genetic draw. Let's use that Wildcat game scenario again. In 1965, I scored in the 99+ percentile in the verbal section of the SAT. That means that were I in that sample of 1,000 fans, statistically, I would probably be no lower than ninth from the top in terms of verbal skills.

So, how will that benefit you if you elect me? Fair question. The answer is that I am a very quick study. By the way, I purchased the official Georgia Handbook for County Commissioners - the one I'll get another copy of when I go to the 18 days of mandated training in Athens - over a year ago and studied it from from cover to cover. I have no trouble reading and comprehending the extensive legalese I will no doubt encounter routinely as a commissioner. Just as importantly, I am well capable of fully explaining what is really going on with every agenda item to the general public, both verbally and in writing, as I fully intend to do both from behind the dais and via this blog. Finally, my verbal skills will enable me to be exceptionally persuasive when trying to sway other commissioners to my point of view on any given agenda item. I'm no fan of the highly overrated concept of "compromise," by the way. If you are familiar with the way Commissioner Steve Berry takes a well-thought-out and researched decision (usually but not always the correct one) on an issue, defends and promotes it to the other commissioners to the best of his ability, then graciously abides by the results of the vote, then you have seen a preview of my performance behind the dais. That is not to say that I will always be impervious to convincing arguments from the other side of the issue.

4. Physical ability and mobility adequate to the task.  Guillain-Barre syndrome is a one-time, episodic illness. Once the nerve- damaging assault by the immune system is halted with massive doses of human immunoglobulin, the active phase of the syndrome is permanently over. It is not a chronically active disease. My residual, partial paralysis of my lower legs, forearms, and hands will not get worse - or better. Obviously, I can type, open doors, negotiate the buffet line at Aunt B's, etc. The good news is that GBS never effects the CNS, that is to say the brain and spinal cord, but only the peripheral nervous system. My post-GBS mental faculties are undiminished.

In terms of mobility, between my power wheelchair and my wheelchair-lift-equipped van - which I drive -  I am fully mobile and independent. When it comes time to go to the mandated training in Athens, I'll simply drive myself there - or anywhere else my duties might take me. Insofar as all county buildings are ADA compliant - including access behind the commissioners' dais - not one dime of county money will be expended to accommodate me.

5. Absolute honesty, integrity, and fair, impartial, and courteous treatment of all citizens. Take my word for it - that will become evident early on.

Thank you for your time and interest. That will be all for today so that I can launch this blog. In the next installment, I will talk about my vision for Camden County's future and what we need to do in county government to help get there.

I would deeply appreciate your voting for me on July 20th.

Thank you!


  1. Jay,

    Will you post all comments and answer all questions or will you filter out the unfavorable ones?

  2. Bwahhahhhahhhahhaaaaaaaaaaaa...this is great, Jay! Keep it coming, please, 'cause we all need the laughs.

  3. Well, let's parse your question. Obviously, you hope to ask an "unfavorable one" and have it posted.

    If you know that it will be "unfavorable,"then you have already made up your mind that you will not vote for me. You would not be asking a genuine question, the answer to which would not be at all dispositive to you or the voters in general as to my qualifications for office or my positions on any matters. Rather, it would be an attack posing as a question. For me to post such a Trojan horse would belie my claim to exceptional intelligence, would it not? Yes, I will "filter out" the "unfavorable" pseudo-questions.

  4. Anonymous said...
    Bwahhahhhahhhahhaaaaaaaaaaaa...this is great, Jay! Keep it coming, please, 'cause we all need the laughs.

    Thank you. I shall.

  5. Jay,

    OK, it is certainly your right to filter out questions which might show you in an unfavorable light. I realize that this is, after all, a political campaign not an open blog. I just want to know going in.

    This is not a pseudo-question, I really want to know the answer . Will you be taking part in the usual candidate debates and on-air interviews? If you are, please let us know the times and dates. I would like to hear you and the other candidates discuss issues head-to-head.

  6. Yes to the traditional misnamed cndidates' debates (fora, actually)and no to the on-air interview with Doug Vaught. Doug is a long- time political enemy of mine with a history of having torn down my campaign signs in 1995 and threatening physical harm to a then septuagenarian supporter who caught him in the act and confronted him. Hence, "Thug Void." Moreover, he has trashed me on air during his DJ days. Lastly, he is in no way a professional journalist.